When you stay in a hotel, the reason you stay there is for the bed, and nine out of ten times the bed is all wrong. You get given some rubbish pillows that feel like they’ve been folded in half one to many times and a duvet that is more of throw for your sofa than anything else. Well the Village Hotel in Dudley, Birmingham is not that kind of place, my room had at least a 14.5 tog duvet and the pillows to match, that is something that’s rare to find in a one nighter hotel.
If Premier Inn was a 4 star work trip hotel then this place is easy a 4.5 and its simple, this place has everything you need for a good nights sleep after a long day of work, from a gym and spa area that actually has a swimming pool deep enough to dive in (not that I went swimming), you could then head back to your rooms and be pleasantly surprised that the showers they actually worked and for once didn’t give you third degree burns or worst frost bite, you are met with a constant supply of warm to hot water that actually does the job. One thing that has to be noted is the fact that they don’t have a luggage trolley, which makes my life 15 x harder. Most of the time when I stay in hotels its with a lot of camera equipment and instead of carrying 20 bags through receiption and into my room it’s nice to just put them on a trolley and push them around, even more so annoying in the morning.
After some excersise and a great shower time to head down and get some food. That’s when I found out about something that would put a smile on anyone’s face, I’m talking about game day chicken wings and beer all for something like £7. what more could you want, and what’s more suprising is the fact that this deal is in a hotel especially when they are showing all the football, so that being said I did enjoy the wings and also a few beers. So I will blame that on the bad grammer and poor spelling mistake into post. but if you couldnt tell for the past 300 words, this hotel is really good and I would definitely recommend it if you need somewhere to stay in Dudley, Birmingham.
For todays post I want to talk about something that I think it pretty important but for the first 200 days of this blog, didn’t really think too much about, I’m talking about framing and lighting. When I used to take a photo I would always think about the content and then used to take content over framing and lighting, which can work for street photography or those once in a 100 year photo opportunities, but a lot of the time Framing / lighting is just as important to not only make sure its a good photo but also to make sure you are getting the most from your camera.
To make this an even test I decided that there was only one place to go and that was to the coffee shop next door, where they don’t only take pride in supporting the local community but their knowledge of coffee and how to make the perfect cuppa is impeccable. I went for the usual a flat white, and what makes Second shot coffee shop perfect for this demo is that its not the biggest coffee shop in the world and it’s quite small. I want to show that it doesn’t really matter about the area its self, you just have to get creative with your framing.
I decided that I would take the photos on a small shelf, next to a plant near the door. The only problem was the shop was pretty packed with customers and there was also this big cardboard box underneath which meant i couldn’t get the shot I wanted too and it would have been way to embarrassing to have started moving the box around, so I had to frame it out and use the not so healthy looking plant sitting on the shelf as something to help fill for the foreground but also add colour and depth to otherwise a pretty standard shot of a coffee against a white wall.
One thing that you always need todo is think about how you can cheat a shot to make it look the best you possibly can, frame out something, shoot at a different angle or move slightly to either side. you can see from this shot of the shelf that not only did it have a plant and cardboard box below, I also had writing on the wall behind and a bunch of flyers to the right. It’s important to look at what you have around you and figure out if its helping the photo or taking something away from it and then make your chosen objects or object compliment the surroundings.
When you think about lighting, first thing I think of is shadows and reflections, when I shot this coffee cup the light was pouring in from the strong sun through the glass front of the shop, meaning that on one side of the photo theres long shadows and if you shoot with the sun behind you, theres reflections on the coffee cup, making it like a mine field of possible issue’s, so what I did here is shoot at like a 45 degree angle from the cup, meaning you lose some of the strong shadows and you also just out of the reflection zone but can still catch a lot of the light.
For this mini photoshoot I thought I was only fair that I went full automatic on my canon 5dii with the best lens money can buy the Canon 50mm f1.8 (which you can pick up for literally £100) and because I shoot in RAW mode which saves loads of information regarding each photo, so if I don’t like the exposure or lighting you can also change it in post and not worry to much about losing quality and thats also what i think a lot of instgrammers or bloggers probably do, it great for saving time but also means that you do have a lot more security especially if you have a good lens and shoot quick street style photos. but I don’t recommend shooting in manual mode with this 50mm lens and its not as smart as the better more expensive kind and does tend to get information or settings wrong. I do also normally I like to shoot in full manual mode and adjust my settings to the relevant environment but I wanted this test to be less about camera settings and what settings to use and more about framing and using your immediate environment to make your photos that little bit better and give them a bit more flare. my top tip is always shoot in RAW and then concentrate on your composition and lighting are better.
Please let me know it the comments what you think about this post and if you think any of my techniques might actually work for all. Also if you think its complete horse crap then that is also good to know. Hope your all have a good Sunday and get kick those St Patricks day hangovers, I’m currently driving up to Birmingham for a few busy days of filming.
My plan for the future is today more photography based tips and hints, so if there is anything you think I should cover let me know and Ill do my best.
So after the bad Thursday I decided that Friday wouldn’t be the same and that the only thing I could do was to smash it pants off the last working day of the week and book in for an afternoon sports massage, my thinking behind that was I needed to sort my back and arm out after a busy 6 weeks of work and instead of me trying to sort it out, just give my body to a professional and get them to work on it and to be honest, it was the best decision, I came away from the massage feeling like I had given my body a full workout but without burning any energy and just laying face down on a bed, from now on im going to try and book at least one massage every month just to keep everything ticking over properly. the masseuses did say i needed one every two weeks but unless I take out a loan or start selling stuff on the black market I don’t think that is going to happen, but if you are in london and want to get you body fixed up and working to full capacity again or even just give your muscles some lovin then definitely check out Ten Health and Fitness, they are magicians. (they are the guys that also helped me with my leg) they are literally the perfect one stop shop.
Heres a link to their website: https://www.ten.co.uk/
After that my plan was to get off at Liverpool street and walk home taking photos on the way which turned out to be a great idea, because just after Brick Lane it started to rain quite heavily but at the same time the sun was shining so i managed to photograph my first every rainbow, and in such a cool place. It was literally right over an old Church inbetween the spire and the roof, making for some pretty cool photos. after all that it is safe to say that Ive properly managed to turn this week around. Now im spending my saturday doing fun things like bills and some DIY, what else are Saturdays for. I have to admit its just nice to be sat on my sofa not moving.
So tonights Premier Inn is somewhere near a motorway around a town called Hatfeild, thats as much as I know about where Im staying to be honest and out of all the Premier Inns Ive stayed in, this one could be the best for customer service. The food was a bit slow but you cant judge a hotel off of one slight mistake, the rooms are clean and the food was actually pretty enjoyable. Today I decided to try something that has been a bit controversial and go for the fire noddles with chicken ( for an extra £2), and it was actually a pretty good choice and right now I know all those Wagamammas fans out there will be saying ” but it doesn’t have a thing on wagamammas” but thats not true.
With a place like wagamammas your standards are a lot higher but with some where like Premier inn its just about getting some sort of food inside you and today thats exactly what i got, good, kind of fresh food at a decent price. what more could you want.
I know this is going to sound like a first world problem and to be honest its not something thats a deal breaker but one thing I dont like about Premier Inn, is the length of their corridors and numbering systems. I know that they need to fit a certain number of room in but please guys add a few short cuts or something because when someone like me who travels with 10 bags and 15 peli cases needs a room we also need it to be easily accessible from the reception which 9 out of 10 times is not that case.
But for all its worth I would have to give this Premier Inn a 8/10 and a 4.5 star travel rating, its a place that does everything it says on the tin and also has a really good sized car park, which is perfect for long wheel base vans.
Hatfeild premier Inn on the M25 you have served me well.
Ahh Monday, the one day of the week where those extra 5 minutes of snoozing the alarm make all the difference, especially when you have a 7:20am call time but the good thing about a call time that early is that you get to see London empty and not full of people. this morning I got to walk through the famous Brough market and it was completely empty, not even someone selling fruit or veg, it was just me. I wish I had more time to explore and that I could of pulled out my camera and spent 5 minutes just taking photos but as I said earlier, those extra 5 minutes of snoozing that alarm aren’t something that can be given up lightly.
For my photos today, I really wanted to show you some more snaps from the beach the yesterday but as im expecting a very busy week, so Ill drip feed you guys photos over the next 5 days, I hope thats ok.
After work today the plan was to go to the gym and spend an hour working out instead of an extra hour on the sofa watching tv, I know that might sound like some kind of terrible idea but my reason behind this is simple, if I want to carry on working 12 to 15 hour days (thats including my time writing these blog posts) then I really should start looking after my body by staying in shape. One thing that has made that decision the right one was the fact that in my second week of gym Ive just managed to run 5km without having a pain in my leg from ligament tear 9 months ago. That 5km run was something I had been thinking about in the back of my head for the past two days and then today I got on that running machine and made it happen, I couldn’t be happier and now Ive done the hardest part, which is basically me telling my brain that I can do this and that I just need to take it slowly. when you have an injury like that, you kind of get these weird thoughts that you shouldnt do it and that your injury has come back. All I can say is learn to actually listen to your body and not just that part of your head that is kind of scared something will happen again.
Straight after the run which by the way took me 34 minutes to run 5km, I was thinking about that goal of running an ultra marathon and I know this is something that probably maybe shouldn’t happen for a good two years, it is something I’m going to start thinking about again. my plan is to go on Saturday and get a sports massage and then speak to the running coach about how I might be able to reach the goal of a 100 mile race. I suppose if nothing else, its something for me to work towards.
As this post is being written and photos are being edited, I am sat next to a bin on a floor, while travelling on a busy train back to London, as the person next to me is watching Marley and Me on his Iphone without the use of headphones. So its pretty difficult to keep positive and stop myself from standing up and politely asking him to watch something a bit more up beat. I mean who watches Marley and Me on a train journey?
Anyway, apart from this current situation today day has actually been pretty chilled out and that’s how a Sunday should be spent, chilling, sleeping and eating. Firstly I should say congratulations to Amy, It fell on her shoulders today to cook up her speciality breakfast for everyone which is kind of like baked Spanish eggs and its one of my favourite breakfasts. She smashed it and everyone thought it was a great little dish. I did mean to take a photo of the dish but I think its fair to say that everyone just dug in before I even remembered to grab a photo, so sorry about that. I think I’ve posted the recipe before but if anyone wants it, let me know and ill track it down. Its really simple but yet effective way of getting ready for what ever the day throws at you.
After all that Amy and me decided to get some fresh air and head down to the beach for a little walk, and what walk is complete without my best friend the Canon 5d. we didn’t go that far but it was the perfect conditions to take some fun pictures. I feel that my photography style is changing so much at the moment and Ive gone from wanting bright blue sky’s and a strong sunny day, to loving the over cast flat lighting that we have been having recently. It really adds a completely different element to each shot.
My plan recently has also been to use a lot paler colours, as most of you know I love black and white photos they always look so strong, but at the same time just saturating photos to the point where they feel black and white but still have hints of colour mixed with my favourite nifty 50mm lens just feels right at the moment.
What do you guys think about de-saturated photos, do they work? I feel like if you leave the white tones over exposed and keep the shadows to a minimum then it really feels like you capture a moment in time but then add some extra style to almost help create a story behind the shot. Its something that I feel just works kind of perfectly at the moment, maybe its just this time of year and that it all change in a few months, but for now I’m really happy with this kind of weather (By the way this is my Sunday night rush hour train thought process, so if non of it makes sense to you, just check out my photos and see if that helps make it any clearer).
Hope your all having a good Sunday! Oh and Happy Mothers day mum, you’re card will be there tomorrow. Sorry its late!
Yesterday after work it was all abit go go, I had to get from the studio back to my flat and pack ready for a weekend in Norfolk. I did manage to sit on my sofa if a bit while I’ll took my shoes off but was then back up and out the door heading for Liverpool Street station.
But now we have made it here and really enjoying our Saturday sat surrounded by baby twins and a girlfriend who can’t leave them alone.
My idea of the photos today was to just have some fun with my iPhone and camera on the way up to Norfolk, however the photos you see below are only from my iPhone as I want to show you my other camera photos later on this week. And I know I’ve said it before but I love the iPhone camera, it is so handy for just capturing moments on the fly. And yes the Samsung camera is amazing but for me the iPhone just does the job perfectly, I suppose in a way it’s like comparing a canon to a Nikon camera.
In other news, I think the plan for today is just to relax and chill out before heading out later to Cromer and going to my favourite pub, the Welly. I’m even taking a day off from using my Laptop normally I would set up in a corner of the room somewhere and edit / write these posts on my laptop but today I’m just doing this from my phone and not thinking about life too much. My plan each day is always to write at least 300 words and I’m not even sure if this is 300 words but to be honest I’m not even going to check. I think it’s best if you just enjoy my photos and briefly read this.
Anyway, hope everyone is having a good weekend. And enjoy these photos.
Firstly I just need to say that I have no idea how I’m going to get through the last 25 days of this photo blog challenge, about 100 days ago I was trying to think of a cool way to finish this, one idea I had was flying to somewhere like Mexico for the day or doing a big finale, but not my goal is just to complete 365 days. Days like today make that challenge harder than thats been for the past 339 days. I dont mean to go on about it but today has been especially hard because the whole day has been spent somewhere I cant photograph and then by the time I get home its 9:30pm. but I suppose thats there winners win right?
the past couple of days Ive been thinking of a new game plan, and ways that I can keep the photos creative and at a high standard, one idea Ive got is to make sure I take loads of photos on the weekend and then ration them out throughout the week. I know, thats not techincally three photos each day, but it still counts right? I think thats going to be my only way of getting through this without having to post terrible Iphone photos that lets be honest no one really wants to see.
If Ive learnt anything so far, it would have to be that I absolutely love photographing people and capturing moments between people mid conversation or if I can, while they day dream. So I think what ill do for todays photos is show you some other shots from Speakers corner, a place where people are deep in conversation with strangers about literally any topic.
I think this whole thing has become a group effort, if you keep reading the post and enjoying my photos. then maybe, just maybe we will come out the other side of this blog. right now Im scared that one day Ill just sleep for 60 hours non stop and miss few days. but until that day heres some cool photos of people deep in conversation.
Today I stumbled apon something I knew existed but didnt really ever think would be a good thing to attend. its something that our country should really be thankful for and millions of other countrys can only wish for, Im talking about the Sunday tradition of Speakers corner in Hyde park, dating back to the mid 1800s this is a place where anyone can come and talk about anything, as long as it is deemed lawful.
When you first approach Speakers corner the only think you see if people standing on small platforms and groups of people debating, they can literally debate anything they choose, nothing is off limits and thats quite an amazing thing. I heard people talking about how muslims and christians basically pray to the same god and someone else who compared religion to an orange and both gave really good answers. Now the good thing is you don’t have to agree to anything that is said there, but until you’ve heard someones full argument I don’t think you can say something at all. No one gets angry and irate they just debate they’re views.
if you actually think about it, today I saw a muslim reading from the Bible talking about why everyone is the same and actually sticking up for christians. If you actually think about that, wars have been started over this topic and millions have died and now in hyde park you have a man freely speaking with no consequence. that is something to be proud of. and its done in the most british way imaginable, by agreeing to meet up in a park on a Sunday, and conduct ones self in a gentlemanly fashion.
Speaker Corner in Hyde park is the last place in the uk that someone can speak out about anything from the Government to modern views and old laws. Places like this used to be dotted all over the country but one by one they have all but disappeared and now we are left with this small spot in the Uk’s biggest city, where everyone has a voice and can always expect someone to listen. If you put yourself in the shoes of someone from say Middle east or Africa, how amazing would it be to come to England and discover a place like speaker’s corner and be able to talk and say everything that has been on your mind. and for that you got to think how lucky we actually are.
If you have nothing todo on a Sunday why no head down to Speakers Corner and just listen to what people think you and if you don’t agree tell them just expect to get a really good response from them.
Heres some photos from some intense debates. (I’ve uploaded 8 photos today because well I couldn’t choose just 3).
So this is a post about something I thought would have worked out completely different. If you’ve ever been to my flat you would know that a lot of the time you seem to find cables and camera gear in the most random places, under the sofa, in the bed room and sometime even in the Bath room. Its not my fault its just what happens, no one know how is happens it just does. I think its Amy, she seems to be the one who finds most of the cables and gear so it must be her that leaves it around the flat.
Well today I woke up and went to the sofa, under a cushion to my disbelief there was a CF card, the said card is the same as the one that my camera uses. for those of you that dont know what a CF card is, they are basically bigger SD cards and its what my camera uses to record the images too. This got me exicted, could this CF card be from a few years ago and contain amazing photos that I completely forgot about? could it have evidence of a past flat party or maybe a christmas I forgot about? Well the answer is no where near as exciting as this, its a CF card I lost earlier this week and only really had some photos of a shower head from a hotel, a photo of my dog and some shots of the beast from the east. it coudnt of been more disheartening. I was really hoping for some amazing shots I hadn’t seen for years.
As this has really let me down I feel that I should still post these photos to show you what I went through this morning and to make up for it Im going to quickly jump in the shower and then head out and do my best to take some amazing photos in West London! thats my aim for today!